Work for an Austin ISD program to increase internet access around several of the district’s campuses is expected to begin by the end of the year.

The gist

The program—called Project Lighthouse—will bring monopoles, or towers that provide wireless services, to campuses to provide better connectivity to students as well as the surrounding community.

District officials are working to roll out a schedule for construction, and work may begin as soon as winter break, Dec. 25-Jan. 5.

The following campuses will be the first to receive the monopoles:The backstory

It is estimated about 30% of students don’t have access to reliable internet, which can negatively impact academic performance and families’ school communication, district officials said.

In November 2021, the board of trustees approved a partnership with Branch Communications, a telecommunications company, which will construct the monopoles.

The construction and maintenance of these monopoles will come at no cost to the district. Instead, Branch Communications can use the towers to rent portions of the poles to mobile carriers, such as Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T, for their own service needs, as previously reported by Community Impact.

AISD will receive monthly rental income for any space leased to a mobile carrier that will be used to fund other projects that offer students network access, district officials said.

Also of note

Earlier this year, teenagers in Sunset Valley advocated for their neighborhoods to receive stronger internet connection by pushing for Google Fiber installation to be completed in the area.

What's next

Construction will take about three weeks to complete at each campus. These zones will be fenced off, and heavier construction will be scheduled on weekends.

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